When Harry met AOPA Pilot

May 22, 2008 by Mike Collins

Harrison Ford is not a stranger to the pages of AOPA Pilot. Editing Barry Schiff’s June 2008 article took me back 10 years, when our June 1998 issue featured the making of Six Days, Seven Nights. Ford did all of his own flying in that film, which introduced him to the de Havilland Beaver–his favorite airplane.

In that issue, Ford also talked about how he became a pilot. I was asked to photograph Ford for that article, and the chosen day was miserable, with rain showers and low ceilings. Tom Haines, Tom Horne, and I flew up to Teterboro, New Jersey, for the shoot and Ford met us at the FBO door.

We waited in a large hangar for Ford’s mechanic to arrive with the keys to his helicopter. Just outside, an APU screamed, making conversation difficult. Some movie-related questions were met with polite nods. Noticing pop-out floats on the skids of Ford’s helicopter, I asked him if he ever flew the Hudson River corridor, a VFR route that follows the river right past Manhattan. Ford’s eyes sparkled as he responded, “Oh, yeah, all the time.”

We talked about flying the corridor, also a favorite of mine, until we gave up on the mechanic and went with Plan B, photographing Ford with a Beech B36TC Bonanza. He no longer owns that airplane, but our art folks found the photo (shown) in our files.

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